In this GlasgowGuide I have philanthropically written an overview of the city’s great Cabinets of Curiosities, our most loved Glasgow Museums.
The city owns an incredible and vast collection of objects, but only 2% of this collection can be displayed in their museums and galleries. So, this 2% might be worth a visit, right?
It is the biggest museum, with 22 themed galleries and wide-ranging displays, including art collections from Dutch Old Masters and French Impressionists; and a Mackintosh gallery. Its flagship is the painting ‘Christ of St John of the Cross’ by the Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dalí. There are displays of natural history, ancient Egypt, Scottish history and world cultures’ collections. If you are lucky you can catch one of the daily organ recitals – walking through the galleries with background organ music from the Renaissance will make you feel very sophisticated and extremely cultured, guaranteed! Other days, magical things like this happen…
On the banks of the Clyde is the newest addition to the family, the Riverside Museum, which comes in a spectacular building designed by the renowned architect Zaha Hadid. It is full of interactive digital displays and a wide transport and leisure collection. You can jump into old trams or the old subway system, and see how things haven’t changed that much after all!
Right in the heart of the city centre, the gallery showcases an array of international and local contemporary artists, with a varied exhibition programme throughout the year. Did you know that the Gallery’s building was originally the townhouse of a tobacco merchant? Just your regular city home…
At the entrance you’ll bump into the famous Duke of Wellington, who surely will be wearing his elegant hat. Sometimes he drops it, but soon a random kind Glaswegian will get the hat back in place! Some time ago, the Council thought it had enough with people putting the hat back on again and again. They plotted to have the statue raised so it would be almost impossible for people to get the hat back on. Little did they know the power of social media and how quickly the Duke of Wellington militants would start a petition to stop this aberration from happening. In less than 24 hours, they had gathered 10,613 signatures (I kid you not!). The Council soon accepted defeat and ‘a beloved landmark and a cherished cultural tradition’ had been saved!
Right next to Glasgow Cathedral is St Mungo Museum, it sits on the former grounds of the Bishop’s Castle (yes, we did have a castle once!). The museum explores the effect of religion on people’s lives and cultures across the world. Just across the road, you can find Provand’s Lordship – the oldest house in Glasgow. Check out its lovely garden!
To understand how they are all so bright and witty visit Glasgow’s museum for education - designed by the distinguished Glaswegian Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
And this my friends, is only 2% of the collection.
I’m sure it’ll keep you busy for a while!